I always thought I was the smartest person in the room. OK, so I still struggle with that major fault, but when I first became a leader seven years ago, my ego was uncontainable. To make matters worse, I based my vision of leadership on what I call “the myth of the solitary leader.”

World Changer Show Episode 009

To me, leadership was personified not by the coach getting hands-on with his team but by icons such as Bill Gates secluding himself in a cabin for a week to think big things.

That was my vision…the solitary leader who single-handedly uses his genius to solve every problem, launch every new initiative, and change the world. I would, in my dreams at least, become a superhero, a caped crusader for my causes, and surely everyone would buy in to everything that I wanted to do.

The only problem was that I was wrong. Very wrong.

That’s the topic of today’s podcast. I share my struggles with this and the 3 reasons solitary leaders fail at decision making compared to a group.

Listen to this Episode

Episode Links and Resources

Study: Groups Perform Better Than the Best Individuals on Letters-to-Numbers Problems: Effects of Group Size

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FREE BOOK: When Your Team Says You Suck: How to Get, Give, and Use Feedback for Leaders

When Your Team Says You Suck: How to Get, Give, and Use Feedback for Leaders

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Who is your vision of a leader? Is he/she a solitary leader or more of a group leader?

4 thoughts on “Episode 009: The Myth of the Solitary Leader

  1. Joshua Rivers says:

    I’ve been rather solitary, partially because of my introversion. But I know I need more interaction and collaboration to be more successful. Looking forward to listening!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Love to hear what you think Joshua.

  2. Jon Stolpe says:

    From a faith perspective, my pastor is definitely one who provides a vision of a leader. He is definitely more solitary, but I believe he engages the group when necessary.

  3. Jana Botkin says:

    The simplest definition of a leader is “one who is followed”. The word leadership has recently replaced “boss”, “manager” and “supervisor”. But it is now also all encompassing and includes what Brian Tracy refers to as “the superior person” or “the excellent person”. Sometimes I doubt that I understand the word at all – too broad?

    I lead a Bible study, lead 20 people to learn to draw, follow this blog, (sometimes) follow knitting instructions, follow the writings of Victor Davis Hanson, follow Jesus. . . who is a leader? Anyone who is followed?

    Maybe I just didn’t get enough sleep last night.

    Good thought-provoking podcast, Matt.

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